Training for Zion 100

The plan: run 100 miles at Zion Ultras on April 10-11. The goal: don’t DNF! The ultimate goal: under 30 hours.

I’m just starting week 12 in my training plan. I am using the plan from the book Relentless Forward Progress. So far, it’s going well. I am keeping my miles on the very conservative side, knowing my body well enough now that I have had 5 years of ultra running and 3.5 with lupus. I’m pleasantly pleased!

One of the perks of training for an ultra with your friends is the sheer amount of time you can spend together during long runs. We have some of the most amazing conversations that probably would not happen in other settings. Topics just flow, and with the 3 of us, they flow deeply. I truly believe that running can and does help people have stronger mental health!

Classy, sassy, and bad-assy.

There are days I question my sanity for deciding to run 100 miles. And certainly I have friends and family (that’s you, Dad) that don’t understand or worry about me. It’s hard to put into words, but I need it. I need to run. I know I don’t have to run so far, but I enjoy the process of running, I enjoy challenging myself and the idea is just so exciting, even if a little scary. I love the atmosphere of ultras. These are the nicest people you will ever meet.

I saw a lady’s shirt that said, “The more I run, the less I want to run away” and that just has stuck with me because I get it! Running can be an escape from the noise of the world and all its trouble, it can be the place where you get your best ideas, it can be community, it can be church! It can be where God speaks loudest, it can be just the quiet you need.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

I will continue to train so that I can be well prepared for this endeavor. Stay tuned for more updates! Read through my previous posts on other race recaps I have written about and more on why I run. Thanks for reading!

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3 Reasons Why People Disagree with You (When you’re obviously right ! )and What to Do About it

3 Reasons Why People Disagree with You (When you’re obviously right ! )and What to Do About it

3 Reasons Why People Disagree with You (When you’re obviously right ! )and What to Do About it
— Read on blueskiesandgreenpastures.com/2021/01/08/3-reasons-why-people-disagree-with-you-when-youre-obviously-right-and-what-to-do-about-it/

I’m sharing because I couldn’t have said it better.

An Honest Resume

I have applied for many jobs over the last six months and have created several resumes to cater to the job I was applying to. I sometimes stopped and thought to myself how funny it would be if our resumes told the whole truth. Mine would be something like this below…

Sometimes I like to dress up and take tea.

(Somewhat) Dedicated and focused (Squirrel!) professional with exceptional communication (I will tell it like it is) and customer service skills. Excels Adequate at prioritizing and completing multiple tasks while remaining adaptable and flexible (and only will cuss a little)

  • Friendly and courteous (if I have had enough coffee and snacks)
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal and organizational (definitely NOT) skills
  • Self-motivated, adaptable and positive attitude (again, if enough coffee and snacks are provided)
  • Excellent work ethic (when I am not too tired)
  • CPR and First Aid Certifications 2019 (but I don’t remember anything)

Experience

10/2020 – Current

Secretary Western Plateau Elementary School

Answer phones, order supplies, deposit cash and checks, balance budgets, run payroll reports, report cards, and other office duties. Interaction with students, teachers, administration and parents. Gets distracted by kids in the hallway. Has to go to the bathroom often. Likes to talk about Harry Potter and Star Wars. I do a lot of running, so I might be late and definitely don’t shower before work sometimes. Keeps snacks in desk drawer, but will bring my own mouse traps. Will often ask to leave to get more coffee. Prefers to eat at my desk so I can take a nap in my car during lunch.

American Dirt Book Review

It’s been a long time since I read a novel that has stuck with me for me several days after finishing. Two other books I read that have really made an impact in me are Educated, by Tara Westover, and Beneath a Scarlet Sky, by Mark Sullivan. I highly recommend them.

But back to American Dirt. I think this is an important book for our time in America. Where I live there is a portion of our population that is undocumented and I worked at an elementary school that has several families that are in various stages from illegal to in the process of a visa. Working closely with these families was at times extremely frustrating to sometimes sympathetic. It is a very complicated situation without any easy solutions. I believe in rule of law and have always felt strongly that there is a right way and a wrong way for immigrants to come to the United States. This book has opened my eyes to the desperation that causes many people to come to the United States. I also have spoken with a few families that are from Mexico and they confirmed many of the problems in Mexico, including the cartels, the corrupt government, drugs, kidnapping, trafficking, bribery, and murder.

This book left me with two distinct emotions: sympathy for the migrants, but also no understanding of why people from Mexico or Central America once they get here do not do everything possible to become citizens or get refugee status or something. Granted, I don’t know what it takes, but surely there is some way to start the process. The other thing that frustrates me is that many people don’t learn English, even after years in this country. I know it’s hard to learn a new language as an adult, but for those that have been in horrendous situations I would think I would want to become a part of my new country. Now, before you say I don’t know what I ask talking about, you are right. It’s just this book got me thinking.

American Dirt follows the story of a family in Acapulco. The husband is a journalist and the wife owns a book store. They have an 8 year old son. The gist is the husband writes an article about the cartel leader and the horror that he brings the community. As a backlash, he murders the whole family at a birthday party, 16 people total, while only Mom and son survived. The story is their escape to the North, the people they meet and the harrowing trip.

The book is well written, engaging, slightly disturbing, and at times violent, but never overly graphic. I liked the point of view from a mother protecting her son and the complete survival mode she encompasses. The strength she portrayed is uplifting even though her situation is quite dismal. I don’t know how accurate the book is on the journey to the north, but then again, every situation would be different.

I wonder what can be done about the cartels and the corruption in Mexico and Central America. I know not every country or city is bad, but statistics say it is getting worse and spreading. Many people feel they don’t have a choice but risk their lives to leave and hope for a fresh start in the US. What can we do? I think the US would not be able to sustain an unlimited number of immigrants for many reasons, and I would imagine most people would prefer to stay in their own country if they were safe and could trust their government. These are just some of my thoughts after reading the book. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What am I doing to myself?

I’ve spent most of the last 6 months in denial. I’ve been very depressed again, but different than it’s been in the past. It’s been manifested is escapism. Every little thought that attempts to emerge has been shoved back down and I have forged ahead. But I have had to. I couldn’t stay in bed for months this time. I couldn’t sleep most of the day away. I’ve just carried on like usual, only feeling pretty dead inside. There hasn’t been much joy or hope.

Work, waste time on my phone, sleep.

I was running and praying, thinking about the end of 2020. I like to have a verse to guide the new year. Processing all the crap and hard stuff of 2020, I want to make some changes in myself to better handle whatever may come in 2021. The verse that came to my mind is 1 Corinthians 6:12

I can do what I want, but it isn’t all good for me. I can over drink, I can over sleep, I can waste hours on my phone, I can eat crap, but none of that is good for me or makes me a stronger person or better able to cope with hard stuff. If I want to be a good wife, mother, and friend; if I want to be a good runner, if I want better physical, mental and spiritual health, then I need to cut out what isn’t beneficial, and choose what is good.

If I am honest, I was being mastered by my phone. It’s embarrassing, but it’s true. I neglected housework, real communication with my family and processing my thoughts about my mom being gone. I was also being mastered by poor food choices. Even though I am free to eat anything I want, it’s not all good for me. I gained weight again and now my clothes don’t fit right. It’s frustrating, knowing I could have prevented it simply by my own choices. I have no one to blame except myself.

I hope someone else is encouraged and joins me in the process of denying themselves, not because they have to, but because of what’s better.

Hard stuff

I have been thinking a lot over the last few months about many things – pain, suffering, comfort, The Abundant Life, God’s will, his sovereignty, my faith, my prayer life, and more.

My mom, my best friend, faithful daughter of the King, went to heaven July 12. It was unexpected, and so very, very sad. But I saw it, and still do see it as a gift from God. Her suffering ended. She had been in chronic pain for many years, I could hear it in her voice when I spoke to her. Yet she rarely complained to me. Her lifestyle was slowly stripped away as she lost ability to do many of the things she used to do and enjoy. But she continued to pray, read the Bible, have many spirited conversations with Dad and I. We would pray for her pain to ease, but it never did. I suppose that is life – as you age and your body deteriorates, and then it ends. God finally called her home the way we all wish it could happen, at home and in her sleep.

My body has been deteriorating as well. Lupus has been progressing, slowly, for which I am grateful. I still have really great days, weeks, months even, and then I don’t. Sometimes it is a short setback, sometimes it’s a major flare that won’t stop. So my rheumatologist decided it was time to take an immunosuppressant, as lupus flares means your immune system is super overactive. I felt great for 2.5 weeks! I could feel myself improving and feeling like myself again! And then… Why did there have to be an and then?

I got shingles. I didn’t know what was happening at first so I went through pretty awful pain for 6 days until it became so excruciating I couldn’t really walk. I finally was seen at urgent care and then got the antivirals. Let me tell you, this pain was like nothing I had ever experienced. It was constant and then it would shoot in my leg and back and I was in such agony. I am on the 3rd day since taking the medication and it has eased up somewhat.

This severe pain had me thinking all kinds of things. First, I cried out to God to remove it. Then I cried for him to at least relieve it even slightly. This pain was relentless. Day, night, sitting, laying down, no relief. How do people live like this? Every day? I thought of my mom, I thought of a woman I follow on Instagram who has chronic pain and is mostly bed ridden. These two women have been examples of how to still praise God even in their pain. I thought of Job, and all he suffered, I thought of the apostle Paul, and all he endured. I knew I needed to turn my mind towards finding something to be thankful for.

I have a wonderful family and friends that have prayed with me, brought me meals, walked my dogs. There are small things.

But the pain is all encompassing. I can’t make it stop. I can’t even cry because for some reason that made the pain intensify. I begged God again. I said, my God, why?

Then I had the picture of Jesus on the cross. His agony was so much worse. And he cried out, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?!”

Pain, suffering, comfort, God’s will, praying. How does it all fit in to the life of a Christ follower?

One part of me said, pray harder, have more faith, believe it and God will make it happen! God help my unbelief. Okay, what did I do wrong, I followed the formula but God didn’t answer my prayer how I wanted. Here’s the deal – what am I going to do about it, if he doesn’t answer prayers the way I pray them. Is He enough? Even if this is what he chooses for me? I need to not only be okay with the body and all its diseases, but to have joy and be thankful. That is hard stuff!! You must truly believe God is who he says he is or you’re going to eventually walk away from faith. He doesn’t always give us the life we envisioned for ourselves. If we are going to thrive and have the abundant life, then we need to praise God, no matter what.

Always be joyful . Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thes 5:16-18

It is so hard not to complain, to compare, and to become bitter. But that improves my life Zero percent. In fact I think those things make my life worse. My church when we lived in Albuquerque had a phrase, ‘Preach the Gospel to Yourself’ often, over and over, anytime you need to. We are frail humans. We forget God’s word. Stay in it, surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable.

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate each other to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25

Block Party

May 16 the group Bigger Than The Trail (BTTT) held a virtual “block party” run in place of a physical location. BTTT is a 501(c)(3) organization that uses running as a platform to advocate for mental health. They team up with licensed counselors to provide free online services. Amazing.

Anyway, I don’t normally do virtual races. My race budget is limited and if I am going to spend the money, it’s more about the people and the experience than a shirt or medal. So I skip them. However, because of the mental advocacy I was going to participate in this Block Party as it is something near and dear to me. Because Hubs was without work, I wasn’t going to officially register, just run. I mentioned that on their IG page and got a DM that they had some donations and I could have the last one!

I officially registered! I have been in a lupus flare so I was not up for a very long distance so I opted for the half marathon. The idea was to make your own route around your block where you live. Hubs ran the first 10K with me and I finished the rest on my own. It was crazy going around and around the same streets. I was definitely getting bored of that. But it’s the perseverance when things get hard or tiring or boring that makes you stronger. So I kept going.

I used that time to pray. I have been in a slump. The anxiety from the news and the unknown future about Hubs getting a job and not being able to do the things that help me mentally has taken a toll on me. The stress is wreaking havoc in my body. Depression and lupus flares up. I know I am not the only one who is having a hard time.

In a blur of tears I cry out to God, I don’t feel your presence? Where are you? Why have you left me? In moments like these I must stop and repeat God’s promises.

  • I know he will never leave me.
  • I know he is for me, not against me.
  • I know I can approach the throne of grace with confidence, and I will find mercy and grace.

Our emotions will get the best of us if we let them. That’s why we need to keep God’s word in our heart and other believers pointing us back to the truth.

It’s Permanent

May is Lupus Awareness Month AND Mental Health Awareness Month. These two things effect me greatly. I thought I would share a little more of my story through my tattoo.

I had been contemplating getting a tattoo that would represent me in a special way; one that would remind me who I am and how far I have come. I thought long and drew some ideas out. And then I finalized my drawing. The next step was to decide where should I get this tattoo? I knew I wanted it visible to myself. I wanted to see it to remember. But did I want it visible for everyone? Am I ready to talk about it? Do I want to explain it and open up to vulnerability? I kept that drawing for over a year. My son gave me the gift of this tattoo for Christmas this year, so I had no excuse not to do it.

There are three components to my butterfly tattoo. The butterfly is one of the symbols for lupus, which often causes a malar or ‘butterfly’ rash across the face on cheeks and bridge of the nose. Lupus affects my everyday life and there is not a cure. It is sometimes called an invisible illness, because ‘you don’t look sick.’ I want to bring awareness to lupus. The Lupus Foundation of America estimates 1.5 million Americans and at least 5 million people worldwide have a form of lupus.

The semicolon makes up the butterfly’s body. Amy Bleuel, founder of Project Semicolon, shares the meaning of the semicolon. 

“It represents continuance. Authors usually use the semicolon when they choose not to end the sentence. You are the author and the sentence is your life, and you’re choosing to continue.”

I have depression and have contemplated suicide multiple times. Yet I continue, I chose not to end the sentence. I got help, and I continue to seek help at times when I can’t fight it on my own anymore. My story is here, if you would like to read more.

Chronic Illness and Mental Illness overlap in many ways. We don’t always feel free to share our struggles. We are afraid of being judged or thought less of. But we need to share. We need to speak out. Others are struggling and feel alone in their feelings and isolated from others. We need to bravely share our stories to encourage those struggling and to inform and educate the other people in our lives.

There is no shame in admitting you are not well, be it physically or mentally. Mental illness is a medical condition. Treatment is available. Please reach out to someone if you feel helpless. Suicide is not your only option.

So I said there were three components to the tattoo. The last thing is really the first thing.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I became a new creation. Like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, the old has gone, the new is here. When you belong to Christ, you become a new person, you begin a new life with Christ. You are a child of God!

Of course this does not mean my life is easy or I am always happy. But I have a solid hope to build my life on.

Continue reading “It’s Permanent”

50 Miles in the Desert

Dark, cold, windy start

Lines of headlamps guide the way

Nervous laughter heard.

 

Climb and crawl, don’t fall

Focus on the headlamp beam

Switchbacks on slickrock.

 

Wide, sandy plateau

Running straight into the wind

Sun starting to rise.

 

Antelope Canyon

Racers slowing down in awe

Ancient spirits here.

img_6803-1

Water, wind, and sand

Echos through the canyon walls

Carving waves in time.

 

Walls turning tightly

Moving deeper in shadow

At once, wide open.

 

Run, climb, sand for miles

Wind dies down, sun brightly shines

Almost halfway done.

 

Sand turns to slickrock

Expansive sky meets the earth

Horseshoe Bend ahead.

 

Far below, water

Dark river flows without sound

Racers stop to pose.

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Follow pink ribbons

Ripples of rock continue

Try not to fall down.

 

Water Hole Canyon

Down a ladder to enter

Smooth walls, warm brown hues.

 

Sun, sand, miles to go

Switchbacks on a sandy hill

Straight up a sandy hill.

 

Page Rim Trail at last

Stunning views of Lake Powell

Keep running, though tired.

IMG_6865

Straight down sandy hill

One more mile to go, but sand!

Finish line ahead.

 

Through the chute I run

Strong legs, stronger spirit

Elation fills me.

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Civilitea

Covid-19. Corona Virus. WuFlu. Whatever you want to call it, it is affecting you. No more hiding from it, it’s everywhere and has impacted you.

I live in the United States, in the Texas Panhandle. Even here we now have 3 confirmed cases, and no doubt there will be more. In my own family, my 2 children and niece are now without work because of the virus. My own job is unknown at this time. My husband lost his job as well. For us, it’s the economic side that is going to hurt us the most.

What should we do? Should we panic? Should we buy all the supplies up as soon as we find them? Should we worry that we will lose our house, our cars? Will we starve? Where will our next meal come from? And don’t forget the more simple things like, I miss my friends! I want to go out to eat! My internet is slow, how can I binge watch my shows?

I was inspired to write this post because of The St. James Tearoom instagram post speaking of the phrase, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

keepcalm

“In London, during the Blitz, when the city was being bombed, night after night, when citizens had to be ready at the sound of the sirens to rush to the nearest bomb shelters, sleep in the underground transportation tunnels, when they had to carry their gas mask with them wherever they went (even the children), when children were being separated from their families and sent to live with strangers in the countryside… this became the maxim that made all the difference: “Keep calm and carry on.” Hitler was convinced his policy of nightly bombing would cause the people to rise up and demand an end to the war. The city made it through this dangerous, dark time, and helped to defeat the enemy by their calm courage, persistent grit, and determination.”

I decided to channel that British spirit, make some English Breakfast Tea in my Brown Betty Teapot and write this post to hopefully encourage you.

IMG_6914

We are living in alarming times. Moment by moment things are changing. More schools and business are ordered to close. In the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, this does not sit well with many people. We are used to our freedoms and liberties.

During the unknown future, may we remember to “Keep Calm and Carry On!” Let’s remain calm in the face of adversity. But how?

First, look to history. How many things has our country overcome in the past and came out stronger on the other side? Look to your own history. What in your own life was a major trial, and you came through it, stronger? I have plenty of examples.

How can you be sure it will get better? Honestly, it might get worse first, but it will get better. And even if it does get worse, we can have peace during these unsettling times. Because God.

The Bible is full of hope, even in the midst of trouble and trials.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. Psalm 95:19

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14

Yes, it is hard to fight the flesh, but with God, you can. He does not want us to worry or be fearful. Use this time to turn your thoughts to God. Read more of your Bible. Pray. He loves us and cares for us. We were not promised an easy life, but we are promised He will never leave us. Fight the desire to give in to your fears.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

My prayer is that as a country and as a world, believers will rise up and shine brightly for Jesus. May we as brothers and sisters in Christ show love and support of our fellow man. May we share our supplies as well as the hope we have. May we be united in our faith as we glorify Jesus in crisis. May we point others to Jesus with our words, thoughts and actions.

 

 

If you do not know Jesus or have questions about this hope that I have, please message me. I am not a scholar, but a child of God. I will point you to the Hope I have. Read the book of John first. Then read the book of Romans. Reach out and ask God to open your mind. He will give wisdom to those who ask.